Thomas Wentworth Higginson additional scrapbooks and other papers
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
10 linear feet (28 volumes, 3 boxes, and 1 portfolio box)
Types of materials included within the scrapbook series are: correspondence, clippings, reviews, invitations, menus, galley proofs, fliers, telegrams, playbills, photomechanical portrait images of TWH, visiting cards, advertisements (especially broadsides) for TWH's books and lectures, extensive biographical articles, printed copies of his newspaper and journal articles, autograph manuscripts of some writings, extensive autograph notes, obituaries on TWH, and letters of condolence. Many of the scrapbook volumes include an incomplete autograph manuscript index inside the front or back cover.
The "Other papers series" includes: printed version of William Warland Clapp's Joseph Dennie; TWH diplomas, certificates, and military commissions; TWH commonplace books from 1838-1856, and other items.
Biographical / Historical
Higginson was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, son of Stephen Higginson, Jr., a Boston merchant, and Louisa Storrow Higginson. He received his AB degree from Harvard in 1841 and graduated from the Harvard Divinity School in 1847. He became pastor of the First Religious Society of Newburyport, Massachusetts, where his progressive views on temperance, women's rights, labor, and slavery caused him to lose his congregation two years later.
In 1850 the Fugitive Slave Act was passed and Higginson joined the Boston Vigilance Committee to aid escaping slaves. From 1852-1861 he was a pastor of a "Free Church" in Worcester, Massachusetts and he took a leading part in liberating the fugitive Anthony Burns (1854), and he supported John Brown both in Kansas (1856) and in his raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia (1859). During the Civil War Higginson accepted command of the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, later the 33rd U.S. Colored Troops, the first black regiment in the U.S. armed forces. After 1864 he wrote a series of popular biographies and histories and a novel. Higginson is also credited with having discovered and encouraged the poet Emily Dickinson.
Higginson was married in 1847 to his second cousin, Mary Elizabeth Channing, the daughter of the dean of the Harvard Medical School. Mary died in 1877 and Higginson moved to Cambridge and in 1879 married 33 year old Mary Potter Thacher, the daughter of Cambridge lawyer Peter Thacher. He had two daughters with his second wife, only one surviving into adulthood. Higginson died in Cambridge in 1911.
- "Higginson, Thomas Wentworth ." Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 17 July 2007.
- Edelstein, Tilden G. "Higginson, Thomas Wentworth." American National Biography Online. Feb. 2000.
- I. Scrapbooks
- ___A. TWH personal scrapbooks
- ___B. TWH writings scrapbooks
- ___C. TWH topical scrapbooks
- ___D. MPTH scrapbooks on TWH
- II. Other papers
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, 1823-1911. Thomas Wentworth Higginson additional scrapbooks and other papers, 1838-1923: Guide.
- Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
- Description rules
- EAD ID
Part of the Houghton Library Repository
Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA